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I wanted to get this post out the day after Easter for all of you folks who prepared ham for your holiday meal and who I’m sure also had loads of leftovers. That would have been SO efficient and organized of me, wouldn’t it? I’m currently working on my efficiency and organization.
Although I’m certain the last scraps of leftover ham have already been consumed, you should still try this soup! It’s that good. Pick up one of those vacuum sealed ham steaks at the grocery store and you’ll be good to go.
The other main component to this recipe – white beans, also known as cannellini beans. Using canned beans makes this recipe a breeze to put together.
Grab your big soup pot or Dutch oven and melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add some chopped onion, carrot, celery, and minced garlic and cook till softened. Toss in several sprigs of fresh thyme. For many recipes, I think it’s fine to substitute dry herbs but I feel the fresh thyme is vital in this one.
Time to add 4 cups of low sodium chicken broth and the rinsed and drained beans and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover that pot and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Now, let’s move on to what takes this soup to a heavenly dimension. The croutons!
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small dish and add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Place 2 cups of cubed French breads on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with the butter mixture and 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes or till golden brown and toasty.
Return to the soup after it’s simmer time and remove what’s left of the thyme sprigs. Some of the leaves will have melted into the soup and that’s a very good thing. We just want to get those twigs out of there.
Pureeing bean or veggie soups gives them a wonderfully rich and creamy texture without the addition of any dairy. I used my immersion blender to lightly puree the mixture. I didn’t want a completely smooth texture so I left some of the beans whole. If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer the soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor and then return it to the pot.
Return the pot to the heat and add the chopped, leftover ham, lots of fresh ground pepper and salt, to taste Simmer just till warmed through.
Garnish the individual servings with those fresh-from-the oven croutons.
How sweet are my new bird bowls? I got them from Joss & Main and I’m in love. I’m coo-coo for cocoa puffs over anything with a bird motif.
White Bean and Ham Soup
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup diced white onion
- 1 carrot peeled and diced
- 2 ribs celery diced
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3 or 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 15 ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1-1/2 cups chopped fully-cooked ham
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
For the Croutons
- 2 cups cubed 1-inch French bread
- 1 tablespoon butter melted
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, and cook the vegetables over medium high heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add thyme sprigs and cook, stirring for another minute. Add the chicken broth and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the melted butter, olive oil, and garlic powder in a small dish. Place bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with the butter mixture and Parmesan cheese. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until toasted.
- Remove pan from the heat and discard the thyme sprigs. Use an immersion blender to process the soup until thickened but not totally smooth. Alternately, working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree slightly, leaving some beans whole. Return the soup to the pot and stir in the diced ham and warm over low heat for a few minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
- Top individual servings with the croutons.
- Store leftovers in refrigerator. Thin with a little water or additional chicken broth, if necessary, for desired consistency when reheating.
- Adapted from Food and Wine